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Archive for December 5th, 2019

I stood there, unable to move my eyes from what was happening in front of me.

She wet the facecloth with warm water, then, ever so gently dabbed his forehead, his cheeks, chin, nose, mouth and eyes. With the tenderest of care of care, her hands guided the dampened cloth, slowly, gingerly over his face. It was as if I was watching the work of a master … no,

it was as if I was watching her wipe the face of her own father.

The expert, compassionate act I viewed stopped me where I was standing, for I had entered a time and place of holiness, beauty and honor.

In my seventy-six hours of final vigil with my dad, this was one of the most tender moments … and it was performed by a stranger, a nurse, paid to do a task, but who took it beyond job description, she performed an act of tenderness as I have never witnessed before. And I will forever be changed because of it.

The tenderness and compassion with which she worked … the respect and dignity that she blessed my comatose father with also blessed me. I was treated to an act of a master at her job, one who did more than was expected of her.

I was reminded of the story of the death of Lazarus as I watched this beautiful kindness.

Lazarus had died, already in the tomb for four days. Jesus said he was going to “wake him” from his death sleep.

When Jesus (and the disciples) got there, he saw Mary and Martha weeping, filled with sorrow over the loss of their brother.

“When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled. “Where have you laid him?” he asked.
“Come and see, Lord,” they replied.
Jesus wept.
Then the Jews said, “See how he loved him!””
(John 11:33-36)

This is a similar picture of tenderness and compassion. Jesus knew that he would raise the dead Lazarus from the grave. But, his tears were not over Lazarus’ death, they were tears of compassion for the sorrow and heartache that Mary and Martha were experiencing. He wept with empathy, responding with love and gentleness.

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